Archive for the ‘ ~3 to 5 Miles~ ’ Category

Grills Sanctuary – Hopkinton

  • Grills Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chase Hill Road, Hopkinton, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°24’38.75″N, 71°45’48.49″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 22, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.8 miles
  • Fairly easy, some elevation.

 

There are actually three separate “Grills” properties here on the Hopkinton-Westerly border. There is the Grills Preserve in Westerly, Grills Preserve in Hopkinton (also known as the Route 91 trailhead or Grills/How-Davey), and the Grills Sanctuary also in Hopkinton. This hike, starting from the Chase Hill Road trail head, is on the Grills Sanctuary. From the parking area, follow the white diamond blazed Tomaquag Trail as it first winds pass corn fields before entering the woods. The trail soon crosses over Wine Bottle Brook. Just after the brook the yellow square blazed East Loop will be on your left. Continue straight just a little further and turn right onto the orange rectangle blazed Cedar Swamp Trail. The pine needle covered trail passes under a canopy of tall trees before coming to the next intersection. Here turn right onto the yellow diamond blazed Peninsula Trail (note: this section of trail is not shown on the map) and follow it to a picnic area. Here turn right and cross the Tomaquag Brook via the bridge and boardwalk. You are now back on the white blazed Tomaquag Trail. At the end of the boardwalk the trail starts to climb and descend and again climb following ridgelines and a valley. Near the top of the second climb you can see much of the landscape around and below you. Though technically a viewing area, it might be tough to see very far when leaves are on the trees. If you were to continue ahead you would soon find yourself in the Westerly Grills. For this hike retrace your steps back to the bridge and boardwalk. After crossing the bridge stay to your right, pass the picnic area and bear to your right staying on the yellow diamond blazed Peninsula Trail. Ahead the trail makes a hard left as it reaches the river. Check out the spur trail to the right to view the Pawcatuck River before continuing along the trail. From here continue to follow the yellow blazes as the trail follows the river. It will soon come to the white blazed trail once again. Turn right here and follow the white blazes until you reach the yellow square blazed East Loop on the right. Following the yellow blazes will have you exploring the eastern reaches of the property. The loop traverses through low lying shrubs and a small grove of massive pines before returning to the white blazed trail for the last time. Turn right here and retrace your steps back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Grills Sanctuary.

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Tomaquag Bridge

Deadman’s Temperance – Fall River

  • Deadman’s Temperance
  • Indian Town Road, Fall River, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°42’31.81″N, 71° 3’54.38″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 26, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, some slight elevation.

 

This hike in the Watuppa Reservation can be a bit tricky if you are not paying attention to your surroundings at trail intersections, otherwise, it is a fairly easy and rather peaceful stroll along trails less used. Starting from the parking area along Indian Town Road near the intersection of Yellow Hill Road you will want to look for the trail head with the sign for the “Brightman Trail to Watuppa Reservation” (Due note there are two other trail heads here that you will ignore). Once you are on the narrow trail you will find yourself winding under a canopy of tall oaks and pines. This trail ends at the much wider Indian Turn Trail and there is a “KP9” trail marker here. Be sure to be aware of your surroundings here as you will be looking for this turn on the way back. Turn right and follow the much wider trail for about two tenths of a mile to a very wide open four way intersection (KP8). Along the way look for the gnomes! Turn right here and almost immediately veer to the right (KP16) onto the Hidden Trail. You will follow this trail to the next intersection (KP21). The original plan here was to continue straight along the aptly named Hidden Trail but that is almost impossible as the trail narrows substantially and all but vanishes. Unfortunately, that leads to a little bit of road walking, but it is a quiet road nonetheless. So here at KP21 turn right onto the Temperance Trail and follow it easterly until the next intersection (KP22). Veer left here onto Abrams Path passing a gate just before Yellow Hill Road. Turn left here and follow the paved road to the next gate (G109) on the left. This is Deadman’s Trail. It is wide and winds westerly and downhill passing towering pines and beech trees that hold their dead sun glistened leaves well into winter. There are a few boulders scattered among the forest floor. Another trail comes in from the right (KP19), continue ahead and downhill to the next intersection (KP18). Stay to the left here and almost immediately you will want to turn left again (KP17). You are now back on the narrower Temperance Trail. It climbs uphill slightly before coming to the Hidden Trail once again (KP21). From here you will turn right retracing your steps back to the parking area, turning left at KP16, left at KP8, and finally left at KP9.

 

Map can be found at: Deadman’s Temperance.

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Along Deadman’s Trail

Mercy Woods – Cumberland

 

The Town of Cumberland recently purchased 229 of the 243 acres of the Sisters of Mercy property for conservation and passive recreation. With the help of the Cumberland Land Trust, the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, and volunteers, Mercy Woods has become not only one of the newest trail systems, but handily one of the most beautiful in Rhode Island. The nearly six miles of trails are well blazed and mapped. For this hike, I led a group, following the Perimeter Walk, from the Sumner Brown Road parking area just off of Route 121. We crossed the road to follow the yellow blazed Mercy Loop. After crossing a field and passing a gate we were onto the trail. The trail winds pass the red blaze trail and turns to the east where it intersects with the blue blazed Ridge Trail. Look towards the right here just before the blue trail. Up on the hill is a pile of rocks, possibly a cairn or an impressive “balance artwork”. Following the blue blazes of the aptly named Ridge Trail for the next two miles leads you up and down some impressive hills, crossing a few streams, passing several stone walls, winding by large boulders and outcrops, along a ridge, and through a forest floor of ferns. The trail intersects with four red blazed trails (Stone Wall, Fisher, Fern, and Fiske) and crosses Sumner Brown Road. For this hike, we followed the blue blazes to their terminus at the Mercy Loop. The Warner Trail also joins the Ridge Trail for a bit. You will see a few white circle blazes along the way marking the long distance trail. When we reached the yellow blazes once again we turned left. Keep an eye out for the blazes as there are two trails to the left (one being not blazed). The remainder of the hike winds through the woods at the southern end of the property, passing through an open field, by power lines, then crosses Highland View Road before the final stretch that leads you back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Mercy Woods.

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Along The Mercy Loop

Big Lakes Trail – Providence

  • Big Lakes Trail – Roger Williams Park
  • Cladrashs Avenue, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°47’3.52″N, 71°24’44.76″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 24, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.6 miles
  • Easy.

 

The longest of the five marked trails at Roger Williams Park winds around the parks large lakes offering several nice views and plenty of opportunities to see birds. Being a loop you can start almost anywhere, but for this walk we started at the boathouse. The trail is well marked with white diamonds painted on sidewalks where posts are not available. From the boathouse, head east (away from the carousel), and cross the street at a crosswalk. The trail enters a wooded section along Cunliff Lake winding up and over a small hill before coming to the Temple to Music. This structure was built in 1924 and hosts concerts as well as other events. Continuing to follow the white blazes leads to a 600 foot section of road walking before the trail turns left into the woods and joins the yellow blazed Temple View Trail. The white blazed trail soon bears to the right and up hill coming to the back side of a baseball field, then left into the woods again before re-emerging to a grassy area at the southern end of the park. From here the trail swings around Elm Lake and begins to head north. This long stretch now follows the shores of Elm Lake, Cunliff Lake once again, and Edgewood Lake before coming to another road crossing.  After crossing the road the trail then hugs the shore of Pleasure Lake before coming to a pedestrian bridge that leads you back to the boathouse. The lakes are home to swans, geese, herons, egrets, and ducks. Several songbirds also dwell in the shrubs and bushes nearby. Turtles can be seen here as well, likely sunbathing on small fallen trees and branches stretching into the lakes. The shores are also usually occupied by people fishing for bass and sunfish. The park is also home to the Carousel Village and the Roger Williams Park Zoo. One could plan an entire day at the park!

 

Map can be found at: Big Lakes Trail.

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Temple To Music From The Opposite Shore.

Woonasquatucket River Bike Path – Providence/Johnston

  • Fred Lippett Woonasquatucket River Greenway Bike Path
  • Allepo Street, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°49’11.31″N, 71°26’52.80″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 11, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.8 miles
  • Easy.

 

Since the 1990’s the Onleyville section of Providence has been going through a revitalization and part of it has been the development of the Greenway. Merino Park, Donigian Park, and the most recently Riverside Park have been refurbished and reopened. The highlight of the Greenway is the 2.4 mile bike path from the outskirts of Onleyville, through Manton, and into Johnston. Starting at Allepo Street at Riverside Park in the shadows of the iconic Onleyville towers of the Atlantic Mills, the bike winds along side the river and through the park. Here is a community garden, a dam and waterfall, and a bike shop. The bike path then slowly climbs uphill meeting with the pedestrian bridge that leads to Merino Park. The bike then winds down hill and follows the bustling Route 6 for a bit passing the bike paths famous mural. The river at this point crosses under the highway.  The bike then starts to pull away from the highway and the river rejoins on the left just before passing under Glenbridge Avenue. From here on the bike path becomes much quieter as it pulls away from the city. Soon on the right is the Manton Gateway, a section of bike path that leads to the Manton neighborhood. There is also a skate park along that stretch. Continuing ahead the bike path crosses over the river. You are now entering Johnston. The Button Hole Golf Course is now on the left and the river is to the right. Just ahead is an access path to Hedley Avenue. Continuing ahead the bike path follows the river to Greenville Avenue. Use caution crossing here as this is a very busy street. After the crossing the bike path continues a little over a half mile to its terminus at Lyman Avenue. Along the way at the Goldsmith Street crossing take a peek at Manton Pond and its fish ladder by following Goldsmith north a few feet and then turning right following the path to the dam. After reaching the end of the bike path retrace your steps back to Onleyville for a roundtrip walk of nearly 5 miles.

 

Map can be found at: Woonasquatucket River Bike Path

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The Bike Path Crossing the Woonasquatucket River at the Providence/Johnston Border.

Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve East – North Stonington/Griswold/Preston

  • Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve East
  • Miller Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°30’46.39″N, 71°54’16.06″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 21, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.1 miles
  • Moderate, hills can be difficult.

 

This new Avalonia Conservancy property is large and sprawling offer several miles of trails. The longer blue blazed trail follows the perimeter of the property whereas the yellow blazed loop is shorter and explores the inner parts of the preserve. The red blazed trails serve as access and exits to and from the preserve. Do note that a portion of the blue trail has not been blazed yet pending finalization of land acquisitions and is expected to be completed in the autumn. For this hike, guided by a member of the Conservancy, we explored the eastern portion of the preserve utilizing a little of each trail. Starting from a small parking area at the bend in Miller Road we first followed the red blazed trail. We soon came to a marker for the blue blazed trail and continued ahead. The yellow trail comes in from the left  and shortly thereafter we turned to the right to continue to follow the blue blazes. The red and yellow blazed trail continues ahead and we would return from there. The blue trail, named the Wapayu Trail, then starts a steady climb up the first of several significant hills on the preserve. We passed several walls along the stretch that are believe to be of Native American origin. These are known as serpentine walls that twist and turn like a snake with a boulder at the end of the wall as its head. As the trail climbs over the hill and descends we came to the next trail intersection. Here the yellow trail (Fenway Trail) joins the blue blazed trail once again. This is also about where we entered Griswold. From here we followed the double blazed trail passing beautiful outcrops. Ahead the trails split again. The yellow blazed trail veers to the left and the blue blazed trail turns to the right sharply and climbs up another significant hill known as Rixtown Mountain, also known as Wapayu. Along the trail on the long steady climb we passed several cairns, several outcrops, and a vernal pool. (Note: that at the time of this hike the trail was blazed only with survey flagging and will be blazed by the autumn). Near the peak of Wapayu is a small rock formation along the trail. From here the trail descends and winds passing several impressive stone walls and an old quarry before traversing the northern reaches of the preserve. The blue trail once again joins the yellow trail for a bit as it crosses an area known as Oak Alley. The trees are very large and old along this stretch with an outcrop and stone wall on the left. The yellow and blue trails split once again to rejoin at the bottom of the hill. Follow the blue blazes down the hill and then back up another small hill, once again rejoined by yellow blazes before passing through a cairn field. The trail then turns sharply to the south following a babbling brook that we crossed just before an old stone dam at the edge of Lost Pond. The trail then climbs back uphill catching glimpses of Lost Pond on the left. We ignore a red blazed bypass trail on the left and continued straight. A little further the blue and yellow split one last time. We stayed on the blue trail climbing over a hill passing more cairns and entered Preston. At the next trail intersection we turned left onto the red blazed trail. It is an access road that runs south to the parking lot. For the remainder of the hike we followed the red blazes back into North Stonington passing an occasional outcrop. The red blazes are once again joined briefly by yellow and blue blazes before exiting the property. A map of the property is currently posted at the parking area. Also be sure to bring plenty of water. This hike can challenge your stamina.

 

Thank you to Carl Tjerandsen for leading this hike!

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Stone Wall Along Blue Trail

World War II Memorial Trail – Mansfield

  • World War II Memorial Trail – Nature Trail
  • Fruit Street, Mansfield, MA
  • Trailhead:  42° 0’22.08″N, 71°11’49.04″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 13, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.9 miles
  • Easy.

 

Two walks in one, literally. The World War II Memorial Trail follows a 1.6 mile stretch of the former Old Colony Railroad. The trail is a paved bike path that follows a straight section of former railroad from the Mansfield Airport along Fruit Street to the outer edges of downtown Mansfield at East Street. The trail is tree lined running through residential neighborhoods. At the midway point and west side of the bike path is the World War II Memorial Nature Trail. There is just about a mile of trails that meander through the woods here. The red blazed trail follows the perimeter of the property. The entire bike path out and back and the perimeter trail is just under 4 miles. Public parking is easier at Fruit Street.

 

Map can be found at: World War II Memorial Nature Trail

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The Bike Path in Mansfield